One video, reportedly filmed on Via Trionfale in the city’s northern suburbs, showed a family of around 12 wild boar strolling down a busy road and navigating the traffic with ease.
Rangers said the animals were “completely urbanised” and were “in no way afraid” of pedestrians or heavy traffic, according to Italian news agency Ansa.
they’re coming for me pic.twitter.com/S1kAjaRdR1
— dan diffendale (@diffendale) September 21, 2021
Another video, shared online by newspaper Repubblica, showed a family of wild boar caught on CCTV cameras roaming Via Fani in the city centre in search of food.
Local residents sharing the video complained that “walking the dog was becoming very dangerous” with largr groups of wild boar roaming around the streets.
Via Mario Fani #cinghiali portare fuori il cane è diventato pericolosissimo. Adulti con cuccioli al seguito inseguono i cani scambiandoli per predatori.
Grazie Roma per questa situazione vergognosa. @virginiaraggi @nzingaretti @RomaFutura_ @gualtierieurope @CarloCalenda pic.twitter.com/cE7SUZbLQo
— Vittorio Pagano (@vittoriopagano) September 17, 2021
As the hashtag #cinghiali (wild boar) began trending on Italian twitter on Wednesday night, some Italian social media users joked that as well as ‘piste ciclabili‘ (bike lanes) the city needed ‘piste cinghiabili’ (wild boar lanes).
But many of Rome’s residents were unsurprised by the videos.
Such sightings have become increasingly common in Rome in recent years, particularly in the northern part of the city, Ansa reports.
“They filmed something that we have known well for more than eight years”, one weary resident living near Via Trionfale told Ansa.
The widely-shared videos inflamed a long-running political row over how the animals should be controlled, as famers’ groups said their number had increased sharply during the pandemic.
Responding to questions about the videos asked in parliament on Wednesday, Agriculture Minister Stefano Patuanelli described the increased presence of wild boar as “an emergency that is deeply felt throughout the country”.
“Maybe it seems that it is only felt in the Municipality of Rome but unfortunately it is not. It is a problem that all the regional councilors, all the trade associations of all the regions report to me on a daily basis.”
He said new laws were not needed and “It would be enough to apply the existing rules, and I’m referring to the fact that regional authorities can provide for the containment of the wild boar population.”
The proliferation of wild boar in Rome has also become a local election issue, as mayor Virginia Raggi seeks a second term.
“My detractors continue to use photos and videos of wild boar around Rome, giving me full responsibility”, Raggi said.
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On September 1st, Raggi sued the regional government of the surrounding Lazio region over “the massive and uncontrolled presence” of wild boar in the Italian capital and beyond.
Raggi claims the regional government is responsible, rather than city adinistration, citing a 1992 law which says regions must “provide for the control of species of wild fauna even in areas where hunting is forbidden”.
It was up to the regional government to capture the boar in the capital and release them back into the wild, she said.
Farmers’ group Coldiretti said that during pandemic-related closures last year the number of wild boar straying onto farms and the outskirts of Italian cities had risen by 15% to a record total of 2.3 million animals.
The number of car crashes caused by animals on Italian provincial roads has also risen by 81% over the past 10 years, the farmers association said, saying an accident was caused by wild boar once every 48 hours last year.
There have been 16 fatalities in wild boar-related road accidents in the past year, and 215 people injured, Coldiretti said.